Thursday, July 30, 2015

Baby shower gifts your friend will love

Last week a dear friend texted me to say that she's going to a baby shower next weekend and she doesn't have kids so AHHH HELP she had no clue what to get. She just wants to find a gift the mom will LOVE and did I have any suggestions?!

My first suggestion was to buy something off her registry. I think most people really appreciate when you get something they asked for (and often NEED) off their registry instead of yet another newborn outfit that will only be worn once.

But in this case the mama-to-be didn't have a registry, so here's what I recommended. I tried to think of fun "extras" that she might not purchase for herself, but that she'll use all the time and love! (And hey—my friend is still looking for a gift and she reads this blog—so if you have any other ideas please share in the comments!)

I told her that if the mama is planning to breastfeed (a big IF but if you're close friends you can usually find out), the perfect thing would be a breastfeeding gift basket! You could package up a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, some Motherlove nipple cream (sounds gross, but worth its weight in gold), some Mother's Milk Tea and a set of Bamboobies or other nursing pads. If you want to really go wild, you could also throw in a cute nursing cover (not necessary but nice to have in the newborn stage), a Boppy or My Brest Friend pillow, a gift card to get a nice nursing bra, and maybe even a manual breast pump. Throw some cellophane and a bow on all that and you've got the world's best new-mom basket. Your friend will be blessing your name every time she pulls out one of those awesome supplies!

Another themed gift (again depending on the mom's plans) is a cloth diaper gift basket with a diaper sprayer, a cute wet bag (large and small), some of the special detergent for cloth diapers, and of course 2–4 diapers of her choice (I use the Bumgenius 4.0 but the options are endless).

One of the biggest sanity-savers postpartum is a good baby carrier, like the K'tan or Solly Baby or Ergo. This is another case where it's best to know her preference, but if in doubt, I recommend getting the K'tan because it's comfortable and easy to figure out.

Or you could take the guesswork out of it and get her a membership to her local Babywearing International chapter, so she can rent a new baby carrier every month. This is an amazing, inexpensive (my local chapter is $30) way to test out different carriers and I really wish I'd done this before Frankie was 13 months old (but better late than never, right?). One of my friends buys a membership for every new mom she knows which is super thoughtful and useful.

Going down the much more affordable route...

Indestructibles are like board books but better. They seriously can't break and they have the prettiest illustrations. Frankie doesn't have one but I wish he did! The little girl next door does, and her mom attests that it keeps her endlessly entertained.

A new mom can never have enough Old Navy baby socks—they're the best at actually staying on little feet, plus they're inexpensive and cute. Before Frankie was born, my brother-in-law (who works at Old Navy) awesomely bought us about 20 pairs in all different sizes and colors. We have used them almost every day, and the great thing about having so many is that I'm never frantically hunting for a missing sock since I can always just grab a different pair. For a darling presentation, you could do what one of my friends did and package the little socks in cupcake liners in a cute box. You can never have too many!

A super useful gift is a pack of "prefold" (flat, unfolded) cloth diapers. They make the best burp cloths because they're so absorbent. I have a few packs of these and use them constantly! A similar idea is a package of flannel blankets—you can use them as swaddle blankets, burp cloths, anything.

I didn't discover these bibs that double as burp cloths until recently, but I'm completely obsessed and wish I had about 10 of them. They do both jobs perfectly and are super cute too. Any mom would love some of these!

I asked my mom for a teething necklace (jewelry for mom that baby can safely chew) for my birthday last year and I use it all the time. Some great brands include Chewbeads, Smart Mom Jewelry, and The Jones Market. You could get your friend a gift card or pick out some jewelry for her if you know her style.

One of our favorite gifts was a set of stacking bath toys that Frankie has so much fun playing with. Who knew bath toys would be such an awesome present? Throw in some organic baby shampoo or a hooded towel and you have another gift basket idea.

Before I had a baby I scoffed at the idea of using one of those backseat car mirrors that let you see your baby while you're driving. Then I had a baby and that silly little car mirror became my favorite thing. It was a baby shower gift and I think most new moms would love one (even if they don't think they will before baby is born!).

Alright, that's all I got. I really hope this is helpful, and if you have any other suggestions, lay 'em on me. If all else fails, you can't go wrong with books or clothing! Or, as one of my friends said, "beautiful, open-ended, wooden toys that will grow with the child." Yep. :)

p.s. For more along these lines, check out these great posts one and two by super-experienced mama Grace.


  1. I've never heard/seen those Indestructibles but wow, I want all of them now! Kate's already destroyed her fair share of books. (I like to call her a voracious reader because of it.) One of the best things I got as a baby shower gift was a gift card to our favorite restaurant! It was so thoughtful and much appreciated -- especially because we were able to get takeout from there and take it home!

    1. Aren't the Indestructibles so cool? I just found out about them recently too and want them all! Ha, voracious reader - too cute. :) That's such a great idea about the gift card! Love that suggestion!

  2. My opinion: Don't bother spending the money on a breast pump. All ACA-compliant health insurance plans have to cover them now, and so unless your friend has a grandfathered plan, she can probably get one for free. Unless she has no health insurance, in which case, you should probably give her cash. Haha.

    Also cloth diapers don't need special detergent. It may void the warranty to use regular, but it won't hurt the diapers. :)

    1. Teresa, thanks for your comment! Great point about the breast pumps being covered by insurance. The reason I specifically linked to a hand pump is that most (if not all) insurance companies will give you a double electric pump, when in fact a lot of moms I know found the simple hand pumps to be more useful (for occasional rather than daily pumping, at least). Since a new mom won't get a hand pump from her insurance company, I figured it could be a nice "extra" gift from a friend. But it's definitely something that you'd want to either check with her before buying it or include a gift receipt!

      I've heard that about cloth diapers! I'm overly cautious maybe but I'm still using the special detergent for ours—mostly because I have a lot that I bought and need to use up. :) It can be a good idea to use it so you don't void the warranty in case something does happen where you need to return the diapers or something, so I think cloth-diaper detergent is a good gift for a new mom... but it's also really good to know that you don't HAVE to use it either!

    2. Oh, interesting! I think my insurance covered either, and I guess I just assumed that was typical.

      Yeah, there's nothing wrong with the special detergent as long as it's getting your diapers clean! All of mine are second hand so I have no warranties to worry about. Tide is working great for us. But I handwash so I need something that cleans really well.

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